China has made astounding advances in recent decades, but a destabilizing gender imbalance threatens the country's progress. The one-child policy combined with a marked preference for sons has led to skewed gender ratios: in some areas, up to 168 males for every 100 females. Authorities fear young men who are unable to find a woman to marry will turn to crime, war, and the vast prostitution market, the Daily Mail reports.
More disturbing, the desire for sons fuels a black market in male children that sees an untold number of sons kidnapped from their parents every year. The fear of abduction is so great that some parents keep their kids in cages or tethered to posts. "The police, of course, say they are looking, but they have seen so many of these cases they are numb," the father of a kidnapped child said. "When it comes to keeping the lid on this, the government wants peace and quiet."
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